If you're into history you've come to the right place. Colorado might as well be one large historical monument. The numbers are impressive: Four National Parks, 3 National Historical Trails, 42 State Parks, 25 Scenic and Historic Byways, and 15 national grasslands and forests. But it doesn't stop there. Hundreds of small mining towns dot the landscape, many just a few wooden planks of what used to be, while long forgotten mineshafts become overgrown and invisible to the human eye. To help you find the perfect place we've done the research for you and listed below a few of the best things to see while heading out to Rocky Mountain National Park.
Driving into Rocky Mountain National Park through Estes Park it is impossible to miss the Stanley Hotel rising eloquently above the mountain town. Built during the early 1900's by F.O. Stanley, the hotel has been visited by four presidents, the emperor and empress of Japan and Johnny Cash and is one of the most impressive historical buildings in Estes Park. If you get a chance to spend the night then make sure to try and stay in room 217. It's the same room where Stephen King began writing The Shiningand is believed to be haunted.
Besides the Stanley several historical buildings and sites can be found throughout the Park and surrounding towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake. Two of our favorites in Estes Park include MacGregor Ranch and Enos Mills Cabin. If on the western side of the Park in Grand Lake make sure to check out the Kauffman House. The two-story hotel has been fully restored and is furnished with a majority of its original furniture.
Moving south to Denver several historical sites and historic buildings are preserved and open to the public including the Byers-Evans House and Pearce McAllister Cottage. If you've got kids or love maritime history a must stop is the Molly Brown House. One of Denver's most famous residents, Molly Brown was a survivor of the Titanic and in her old age furnished her house with some of the most beautiful antiques and carpets in Denver proper.
Throughout the state Colorado, is also home to several historical sites that played an important role during westward expansion and the lives of Native Americans. Some of these sites include Fort Vasquez, which was responsible for a large portion of the fur-trade in Colorado, and the Sand Creek Massacre site where the Battle of Sand Creek occurred.
Finally, if you're into archeology then make sure to head to the southwestern edge of Colorado and hit up Four Corners National Monument and Mesa Verde National Park. Some of the most impressive cliff dwellings in America can be viewed at Mesa Verde proving that once a long time ago it was possible to live without Starbucks.